Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WSJ.com - Microsoft's Ballmer Defends Plan to Increase Spending

'If you believe in the opportunity we believe in, you've got to invest behind it,' Mr. Ballmer said at an investor conference sponsored by Sanford C. Bernstein. 'Being a little more generous in research and development than a little less is a smart thing to do.'

From the mouth of boobs.

Samsung 'gaffe' sends Apple order to rival chip maker | Reg Hardware

Same Samsung who's market cap stands at about $100 billion (I think I did that right)? Boo hoo boo hoo, just part of the Samsung empire, but they could buy two Apples. Nothing like steping on people's hands on the way back down eh Stevie?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Researchers Analyze HPC Potential of Cell Processor

"'Overall results demonstrate the tremendous potential of the Cell architecture for scientific computations in terms of both raw performance and power efficiency,' the authors wrote. While their current analysis uses hand-optimized code on a set of small scientific kernels, the results are striking. On average, Cell is eight times faster and at least eight times more power efficient than current Opteron and Itanium processors, despite the fact that Cell's peak double precision performance is fourteen times slower than its peak single precision performance. If Cell were to include at least one fully utilizable pipelined double precision floating point unit, as proposed in their Cell implementation, these speedups would easily double."

The full paper can be read at: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~samw/projects/cell/CF06.pdf

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Microsoft to buy eBay?

Well, I certainly hope so. That would be one less company I have to hate.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mac OS X at Odds With Linux

"Mac OS X's BSD-based kernel puts it at the Unix end of the OS spectrum and thus ripe for comparison with Linux. And this is precisely what's been happening as of late. Some in the IT industry have called OS X on the carpet for perceived problems compared to Linux."

Google Code - Open Source Patches: Wine

Why, this is pretty cool.

Makes Picasa work with Linux suposedly. Not sure when I'll get around to trying it. For one thing, it needs an Intel box.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Language Log: Why are negations so easy to fail to miss?

"Over the past month or so, a series of posts here have sketched an interesting psycholinguistic problem, and also hinted at a new method for investigating it. The problem is that people often get confused about negation. More exactly, the problem is to define when and how and why people get confused about negation, not only in intepreting sentences but also in creating them. The method is 'Google psycholinguistics': the analysis of internet text as a corpus, as a supplement to more traditional methods like picture description, reaction time measurements or eye tracking."

Another VGA (Very Good Article)

Monday, May 22, 2006

And then there's Mactel

"Bottom line? Well Mactel has so far cost Apple control of its input costs, its product cycles, its software, and its hardware base. Nothing worse could happen, right?

Wrong."


Finally the punditry class is starting to get it. I've even noticed posters over at Macrumors have started doing their homework. Wall Street knows what's going down (pun intended).

I was toying with the idea of grabbing one of the Power Mac desktop systems before they stop selling them, or maybe even getting a refurbed unit. These systems are more than most people (including myself) really need even if you go with a two year old model. But then I thought "what if a fan or power supply goes bad two years hence. Will Apple be all that enthusiastic about tracking down a replacement part?" When Apple finally replaces these high-end systems this year (Right Steverino?) people are finally going to see what the "New Apple" really looks like: stock PCs with artsy fartsy covers.

Nope, I'll hold out for a Cell processor or maybe something running a REAL IBM PowerPC processor. And the fact that it isn't made by Apple will be an advantage not a disadvantage. Heck, even these look interesting, and for a third the price of the shiny Apple box.

Here is a related article on the poor security characteristics of I86 boxes, reminding me that the Apple Fanbase is still in denial regarding their increased exposure to malware now. But I'm sure they'll "get it" on that issue too, now that it's too late to complain.

Also:

Apple: QC? What is that?

*Shocking*

*Whining*

*Hot*

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Apple shunned superstar chip start-up for Intel

"PA Semi - a maker of low-power Power processors - formed a tight relationship with Apple - one meant to result in it delivering chips for Apple's notebook line and possibly desktops. The two companies shared software engineering work, trying to see how Apple's applications could be ported onto PA Semi's silicon. When word leaked out that Apple had signed on with Intel, it shocked the PA Semi staff, according to multiple sources."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

WSJ.com - Microsoft Judge Approves Extension of Antitrust Deal

"'We've made the decision this is the highest priority project in the company,' said Bob Muglia, a Microsoft senior vice president. The company, he told the court, has 300 employees working on satisfying U.S. and European Commission demands, and has retooled how it prepares the required software code by treating it as an engineering project rather than a documentation plan."

At some point you have to wonder just how many "highest priority" projects a company can have.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nuclear power plant secrets leaked by computer virus

And again.

"According to the Japanese press, approximately 40MB of confidential reports, related to nuclear power plant inspections over several years, was leaked from a virus-infected computer belonging to an employee of the Mitsubishi Electric Plant Engineering (MPE). The data is said to have been distributed to users of the Winny peer-to-peer file-sharing system. Winny is the most popular file-sharing network in Japan, with over a quarter of a million users."

Do I wonder what operating system was involved? No. I do not wonder what operating system was involved.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stop the Whine

How often does a product's quality control problems end up with its own domain name?

How sad.

AMD unveils 'next gen' CPU plans

"The company still plans to deliver a four-core chip in 2007 and expects the product to compete well on overall performance and performance pet watt metrics. AMD pitches the no surprises approach as an advantage over Intel, which in the second half of this year will release a completely new processor architecture across its server, desktop and mobile lines. Even beyond that, Intel is expected to release more architectural changes in the coming years as it tries to improve memory performance."

I wonder if Steve Jobs notice all the dirt roads on that "roadmap" Intel gave him?

Sleazier Still

"'This isn't about license compliance,' Deshaies says. Yes, it is. It shouldn't be, but it is. Right now, Microsoft's software asset management consulting services are pitched from the start as being about license compliance. And if the customer keeps saying no, the last stop is a threat to sic the license police on the customer.

That's how Microsoft is selling consulting these days."

Monday, May 15, 2006

Life After the Video Game Crash

"Luke's X-Wing approaches the surface of the Death Star.

'Red Five, begin your attack run.'

Luke swoops down into the trench. 'It'll be just like Beggar's Canyon ba-'

Turret laser bolts tear his X-Wing apart.

That's the exciting Star Wars finale, as played out on your home video game console. 'It's just like living a movie! A plotless ten-hour movie edited by Michael Bay's retarded brother and running on a skipping DVD player!'

It's unfair to compare any movie game to a movie because films are relying on an art form (drama) with a thousand years of popularity under its belt. You put sympathetic humans on screen and tell a well-paced, exciting story and we escape into their adventure. But the director controls how the story unfolds, controls what you see and, if he knows what he's doing, delivers it to an audience based on a centuries-old formula designed to engage the emotions. "


So that's why I never got interested in these game things!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

DB2: the Viper is coming | The Register

"How much impact will Viper have? There are a lot of applications (more than many companies realise) that need to combine XML and SQL data, and IBM is about to have a clear lead in the market in these areas. Then add Viper's SAP-specific characteristics: even with the previous release, DB2 was increasing its share of the SAP market and it has picked up not just new customers but those migrating from other platforms—this trend is likely to continue. On top of that, compression will reduce the total cost of ownership as will, in their own ways, the new automated management features and the automatic storage support. Finally, consider the performance benefits of adding range partitioning to multi-dimensional clustering for query environments."

Friday, May 12, 2006

Justice Dept slams 'Machiavellian' Microsoft

"The DoJ quoted Machiavelli to describe Microsoft's chaotic development procedures, which if you're being charitable, explain its difficulties in explaining how its software works.

'He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building,' cite the Justice Department lawyers."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ballmer: Google wants special treatment in IE

"'Google wants us to prompt the users to change the defaults. They want to see a list of search providers, with the No. 1 search provider listed first,' said Ballmer, who was speaking generally and not recounting a formal meeting or discussion with Google executives."



And exactly what doesn't make sense about that? Idiot!

Microsoft hasn't changed, and they will never change with this man at the top.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Google raises the ante in fight with Microsoft

"And Larry Page, Google's co-founder said: 'We tried pretty hard not to be focused on what they're doing. We like to be innovators, and we don't get there by looking at what other companies are doing.'"

Somebody should clue Microsoft in about that. But if they adopted such a strategey... um, I guess they would still be copy-cats.

LiveScience.com - Is't it Ionic? Air Purifiers Make Smog

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cringely . May 4, 2006 - Killer Apps

Interesting... but with reservations... that I may comment on later.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Let he that is without sin...

Microsoft Monitor: Championing Cultural Change: "Earlier this week National Geographic released a study showing 18-24 year olds aren't so good at geography (50 percent can't find New York on a map). Three quarters of young Americans also believe that English is the world's dominate language. National Geo probably would have found that the American cultural biases go deeper, if the survey asked."

Looks like the folks at Microsoft Monitor could use a bit of vocabulary help too.

They never thanked me for the help I sent them on free e-mail offerings. Maybe because it put Microsoft in the lowest quartile. Hmmmph.

RIAA Claims Music On Car Radios Meant Only For Original Vehicle Owner!!!!

"The Recording Industry Association of America announced today it would be expanding its crackdown on copyright infringement by suing family members, hitchhikers and carpoolers."

Of course their real actions make this seem not so far fetched.

Sendmail and secure design

"I am of the opinion that our only hope of eliminating bugs, or at least making further attacks against software impractical, is to keep systems small, simple, and static (by static, I mean that they don't change). And, although there can never be a guarantee of security, we can at the very least have some reasonable level of assurance. As that software continues to be scrutinized by researchers, our level of assurance increases."

I wonder if anyone at Microsoft shares this philosophy.

*Original article (Security Focus)*

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Friday, May 05, 2006

AOL to Offer Phone Service With Instant Messenging

Mossberg's Mailbox - Windows Registry

WSJ.com - Mossberg's Mailbox: "I know that there are registry-repair and editing programs that claim to be so safe and simple that anyone can use them, and it's true that they are simpler than manually editing or repairing the registry. But I still advise mainstream users with little or no technical knowledge against touching the registry. If your computer is behaving badly enough that you'd consider trying to 'fix' its registry, then it's time to call in a pro."

Said pro will very likely run one of the off the shelf registry repair programs first thing (hopefully after doing some sort of backup).

The real solution would be for some future (and I guess it will be very distant future at this point) version of Windows to do away with the registry abomination. Yes, I know that aspects of Gnome under Linux and the Apple OS X resemble the Windows registry, but that doesn't make it a good idea. The fact that you can drag and OS X application into the trash to un-install it is a good indication that most program settings are isolated rather than being co mingled in a huge system-slowing database. Some others are also in user folder space where they are easily found and deleted.

There's no accounting for what Gnome does, but anything that has Gconf(2) as a prerequisite I simply do without. For most programs under Linux, they derive only their default settings from a central folder structure (not a database) and user changes to these defaults are saved in the users folder space, again, easily found and deleted when they are no longer needed (or as an easy way to restore all the default settings). These files consume only a tiny amount of disk space and never get loaded into memory unless the corresponding application is running. This system makes too much sense to have abandoned without significant benefits to the alternative.

The invention of the Registry for Windows was supposed to make installation and de-installation of programs easier, but instead, it forces most applications, even moderate sized user applications to require the use of an "installer" program to work though all the drudgery of setting registry entries. As the registry grows, more and more system memory is required to hold it. As anyone who tests applications for a living probably knows, a regular re-installation of Windows is the easiest way to keep your system from grinding to a halt or giving your tests misleading results.

The installers, once ensconced, have themselves become more complex, not only adding and deleting registry entries for the program being installed, but "helpfully" changing setting for other programs as well and doing nice things like deleting user created files that were "in the way" without asking.

In my list of reasons why I'll never use Windows again, the Registry and problems surrounding it rank right up there with viruses, pop-ups, and vendor lock-in.

Open Document Format Gets ISO Approval

"The Open Document Format has been approved as an international standard by the International Standards Organization, a move that supporters say will serve as a springboard for the adoption and use of ODF around the world."

And could the timing be better that we don't have to wait for Microsoft to decide to participate. Bam. Most of the rhetoric is off the table.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eight signs Microsoft is dead in the water

"There is a deep-rooted belief that if a company like Google is successful, then they are an enemy per se. So the company obsesses on what Google is doing rather than concentrating on important Microsoft projects. Now Microsoft is about to do a deal with Yahoo to flank Google. This old-lady-like skittishness is unbecoming for a company this size."

Web 2.0 and Databases Part 1: Second Life

"Our most interesting war stories don't generally involve the database - yes once we lost data and had to roll back the world a few hours, but who else can claim downtime due to grey goo? Perhaps the best illustration of the lesson above is a story of success. Lots of people have memories and/or fears of racing to the colo to fix the one machine that's bringing down the system; we can bring spare dbs on line from the comfort of our own homes, and worry about repairs at our leisure. 'I can add database capacity in my underwear!'"

Sometimes I feel guilty for giving away the punchlines in my blog links. Hehe.

A Microsoft, Yahoo Tie-Up?

"That would be a major departure for Microsoft, the software maker that is legendary for toiling on its own until it captures a new market. However, people familiar with the situation say that Microsoft has considered the idea of acquiring a stake in Yahoo, and that the two companies have discussed possible options over the course of the past year."

Somebody needs to straighten these guys out on the history of the two companies, both of which prefer to buy than to invent from scratch. I can just see the two project leads meeting for the first time and simultaneously saying: "So, your guys will develope all the code and my guys will handle all the interviews right?"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Microsoft may delay Windows Vista again -- Gartner

Oh, please stop, my sides are hurting!